Ахмед Хилми (1865-1913) от Филибе и неговият суфитски шедьовър “A‘маак-ъ Хaяаль” (Дълбините на фантазията) (Ahmed Hilmi (1865-1913) from Filibe and his sufi masterpiece “A‘maq-i Khayal” (The depths of fantasy)
Shakir, Aziz Nazmi (2009) Ахмед Хилми (1865-1913) от Филибе и неговият суфитски шедьовър “A‘маак-ъ Хaяаль” (Дълбините на фантазията) (Ahmed Hilmi (1865-1913) from Filibe and his sufi masterpiece “A‘maq-i Khayal” (The depths of fantasy). Orientalia / A Magazine for the East, 2/2008 . pp. 89-95. ISSN 1312-6962
Ahmed Hilmi was born (1865) and spent his childhood in the Ottoman city of Filibe (now Plovdiv in Central Bulgaria). Later his family moved to Istanbul where he lived most of his “conscious” life. Nevertheless Hilmi has perpetuated his relation to Bulgaria by putting the name of his birth town in front of his own name. In 1901 Ahmed Hilmi was exiled because of his political views by the Sultan Abdulhamid the Second to the town of Fizan (in Libya) where he started dealing with Sufism and entered the Arusi order. In different periods of his life he published the newspapers “Çaylak” (in Egypt), “Coşkun Kalender” (in Bursa) and “Hikmet” (in Istanbul) and about 40 books. He died unexpectedly in 1914 and was buried nearby Fatih Mosque in Istanbul. Ahmed Hilmi is famous for his deep knowledge of both Sufism and western philosophy. The most prominent works of the author are in the fields of religion, philosophy, logic and politics and it can be said that most of them -at least as titles- sound totally popular even for the contemporary reader. Some of Hilmi’s printed works are: The Islamic World and Europe in the Twentieth Century: A Political Guide for the Muslims (1911); Muslims Listen! (1910); Islam and the Religion of the Future; New Logic; Is It Possible to Deny God (1911, a book dealing with the whole history of philosophy, both eastern and western, trying to analyze them; Islamic Mysticism; The Science of Monotheism; The Materialist Delusions in the Presence of Science (1914); Three Philosophers; Sheikh Bedreddin; The Bektashis; History of Islam: (refutation of Dozy’s Islamic History); Finally (but not last) in this list is the collection of Sufi stories called “The Depths of Fantasy”. The stories in “The Depths of Fantasy” are not only conceptually connected but at the same time they follow a common composition which starts when the main character Raji after a series of long wanderings and spirituals tortures aroused by the problems of the existence and non-existence, finds himself in a cemetery where he comes upon the second main character Aynali Baba (“Mirror-Father”): an old man who has decorated his hat with pieces of broken mirrors. During the first conversation Ayanli Baba prepares a coffee. This drink helps Raji get rid of everyday life’s burden and arranges his senses for a first contact with the metaphysical world, which takes part in the second story titled “The Hill of Naught”. When the coffee drinking finishes and the old man starts playing his flute (nay) and quotes some love poems, Raji falls asleep and dives into the depths of fantasy. From this point on, for a period of nine days the coffee and the sounds of the flute constantly accompany Raji’s next submergences into the world of fantasies: each described in a separate story. In all these stories the main character finds himself in a different place, is transformed into something new and meets a number of well-known or unfamiliar people: prophets, scholars, wise men etc. In “The Naught Hill” he lands in India where he meets Buddha; in “Feast for the Eyes” in the role of an Iranian gets together with Zoroaster and participates indirectly as a spectator and directly as a fighter in a 40-day long battle between Ahriman’s light and Ormuzd’s darkness in which prevails the goddess of love Isida; In “Eternal Cycle” he goes through states in which for periods lasting millions of years he embodies millions of organisms. In the next story called “The Meeting of the Wise” Raji is already “His Majesty the Yellow Devil”; in “The Arena of Mightiness” he visits the planets Mars and Jupiter. Here the author uses completely scientific terminology from the field of astronomy as “double stars” and “solar eruptions”; in “Kaf and Anka” the main character is an Indian prince; in “Eternal Mystery” he is a Chinese sacrificing his soul’s immortality in order to learn the answer of the eternal mystery; in the story by the title “The Gathering of the Mighty” the main character attends a gathering at which are present: Abraham, Moses, Adam, Confucius, Plato, Aristotle, Zoroaster, Brahma, Jesus, Lokman, Khidr, Buddha and Mohammed who try answering the question that always has moved mankind: What is happiness? But after all these transformations Raji wakes up and returns to his own essence. Actually he is an excellent example of a substantial movement: his external forms are constantly changing but Raji’s essence remains the same. Two of Ahmed Hilmi’s most interesting stories are found in the second part of the book titled “The Lunatic Asylum in Manisa”. Here the author who has combined successfully a fascinating composition and a Sufi concentrate proves to be a real connoisseur of the Sufi knowledge. The two stories called “Mejnun with Leyla” and “Mejnuns without Leylas” are based on the following mystery: Does the Arabic letter “Alif” come from the full stop or vice versa ( an equivalent of the well-known problem of the egg and the hen).
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